1 Corinthians 5:9-13 NLT

When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. 10 But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that.

11 I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people. 12 It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning.

13 God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”

Sometimes when I try to point out a sin of a fellow Christian, s/he gets back on me by quoting the verse about not judging other people (Luke 6:37). But how are we to sharpen each other, or help each other love God more if we cannot judge a fellow Christian who you know is hurting God with his sin?

Then I came across these verses in 1 Corinthians 5:9-13. It is clearly explained here that we are not to be pointing out sins of the unbelievers, but with the believers, we should! So the earlier verse about not judging other people is only for the unbelievers. We should actually try to correct our Christian friends if we see them doing sin.

With people who are not yet believers, we should not do that. They would just hate you and hate God more. The reason is because they cannot stop sinning. They are still unbelievers. It is like you are trying to tell them to do something that is impossible for them to do. For example: it is like telling the person to stop getting drunk, and maybe he tried a lot of times before but just could not stop it. And now here you come telling him that God wants him to stop something that he could not stop before. That would be stressful and could lead to hopelessness and hate towards what God is telling him to do.

They first need to know and believe the saving power of Christ on the cross before God can work miracles through their lives.

That is why with believers (people who confess that they believe in the power Jesus Christ has given them through the cross) it is just right to point out sins in their lives. Because they already know that God can help them be victorious over any sin! Just make sure to do it in a loving way.

True discipleship is helping each other love God more, and love each other more. Let us always ask God for ideas on how to do this with the believers and unbelievers around us. Keep honoring God and making disciples!